To begin with, the time frame of the stanzas begins to prove the theme. By itself, it doesn't prove the theme, but, when added with the imagery and diction, it gets the job done. The second and third proofs build off of the time frame. The time frame of the stanzas progresses through autumn and a day as a person's life does. It shows that autumn and a day are being paralleled to a person's life.
The first stanza is set in early autumn and the morning. This is shown is passages from the poem. For example, season of mists and warm days will never cease show this time setting. Season of mists prove morning because mist forms in the early morning. Warm days will never cease proves early autumn because this is the hottest and most humid time of the year. The first stanza clearly takes place during the morning in early autumn, and those are paralleled to childhood in life.
The second stanza is set in mid-autumn and the afternoon. This is evident in the poem. In example, while thy hook, gleaner, and on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep show the time frame is mid-autumn and afternoon. While thy hook and gleaner show mid-autumn because these quotes deal with the harvest, which happens in mid-autumn. On a half-reaped furrow sound asleep proves afternoon because the furrow is half-reaped, thus half way through the day, or the afternoon, and naps are usually taken during the afternoon hours. Obviously, the second stanza is set in the afternoon during mid-autumn. Mid-autumn and afternoon compare to adulthood in life.
The third stanza is set in late autumn and the evening. The proof is in the poem. For instance, gathering swallows and hedge crickets sing prove the time frame is late autumn in the evening. Gathering swallows proves late autumn because that is the time when birds gather to migrate to warmer climates. Hedge crickets sing proves evening because crickets produce their patented sound in the evening hours. Certainly, the setting of stanza three is during the evening on a late autumn night; these go together with the elderly years of life.
It is evident that the first stanza takes place during the morning in early autumn; the second stanza occurs during the afternoon in mid-autumn; and the third stanza happens in the evening in late autumn. These facts show that the poem progresses through a single day and the entire season of autumn. This, of course, doesn't prove the entire theme by itself, but it does show that life is progressing. Life is paralleled with a day and autumn; however, more proof is needed for the entire theme.
Next, the imagery of the stanzas builds off of the time frame, to further prove the theme. As before, the imagery itself doesn't prove the theme, nor does it when added with the time frame of the stanzas. The imagery starts out very tactile; then fades out to more visual words. In the last paragraph, the imagery fades away even more to auditory imagery. The fading away of the imagery compares to life fading or slipping away. When you add this to the first proof, life is slipping away as life progresses.
The first stanza has very tactile imagery; it makes you feel like you are in the poem. For instance, bend, fill, swell, plump, and clammy show this tactile imagery. The words are perfect examples because, if you think about these words, you have to touch something to get an understanding of these words. As an illustration, to bend something, you have to touch it; you also have to touch an...